This season has been a dramatic one full of disappointments and struggles for most teams in the NBA. The likes of the once-dominant Golden State Warriors are all experiencing difficult seasons in what has arguably been one of the most fascinating and competitive seasons in recent years. Among the list of struggling teams in the NBA, this season is the Minnesota Timberwolves. After finishing in the 11th position in the Western Conference and bottom of the Northwest Division, thus failing to make the playoffs with a 19-45 win-loss record in the 2018-2019 season, the Timberwolves would have wanted a stronger and better campaign this term. However, it has been the same old story as they find themselves in the bottom half of both the Western Conference and Northwest Division once again. The Timberwolves currently occupies the 14th position in the Western Conference and lie bottom in the Northwest Division so far with the win-loss record they had at the end of last season. It is alarming and could get worse than this considering the team’s bad performances and the fact that the season is still far from over. It is fair to say that the Timberwolves would have been bottom of the Western Conference if the Golden State Warriors hadn’t experienced their current misfortunes. The Warriors might even move above them by the end of the season if the NBA resumes anytime soon. For one of the most-talked-about teams with useful young talents, that is nowhere good enough to the team’s full potential.
We take a look at Minnesota Timberwolves’ disappointing season and the factor behind their bad performances.
Minnesota Timberwolves’ season so far
Minnesota Timberwolves started the season on a good note by recording four wins against Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Washington Wizards in their opening five games of the season. The sole defeat in that period came on the road at Philadelphia 76ers. The struggles began after the opening games as Minnesota Timberwolves claimed only two victories in the next five games. After the first ten games, the Timberwolves had a 6-4 win-loss record. For the Timberwolves, it was a decent win-loss return in comparison to the 4-6 win-loss record they had at the same stage in the previous season. However, the signs were still clear that they were going to struggle. The next eight games produced just four wins and four defeats for Minnesota Timberwolves. They would then go on a run of 11 games without a victory to stretch their win-loss record to 10-19 after their first 29 games of the season. However, the 11 game losing streak would end with a win at Sacramento Kings. A win over Brooklyn Nets in their final match of 2019 ensured that Minnesota Timberwolves ended the year on a pleasant note and a 12-20 win-loss record. Despite starting the New Year on a wrong note with a 106-104 loss to Milwaukee Bucks, the Timberwolves recovered to record three games and a single loss from the next four games. However, any sign of improvement disappeared as they went on to win just twice in their next 20 games, including a run of 13 consecutive defeats.
Before the suspension of the league, the Timberwolves were on a 3-game losing streak. The team has also won just twice in the last seven outings.
The factor behind their disappointing season
In the NBA, any team that decides to trade its best players at the crucial stage of the season is bound to endure a worse season. It is no secret knowledge that the departures of some of the influential players in the Timberwolves team earlier this year have hurt the team. The decision to trade the key trio of Point Guard Jeff Teague, Power Forward Robert Covington, and Small Forward Andrew Wiggins despite their massive contributions to the team came as a surprise.
Jeff Teague was averaging 13.2 points per game, 2.6 rebounds per game and 6.1 assists per game before his trade to Atlanta Hawks. Andrew Wiggins was averaging 22.4 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game before his trade to the Golden State Warriors. Robert Covington also averaged 12.8 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, and 1.2 assists per game before moving to Houston Rockets. The critics would say the team was already struggling when these players were still around. However, there is no denying that the absence of these players has taken a big hit on the team and their performances in 2020 despite the excellent performances of some of the mid-season additions like Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell and Juan Hernangomez.
It is clear now that there is no chance of the Timberwolves reaching the playoffs this season. They will have to play for fun if the season resumes. The team will be hoping to rely on their two-time NBA All-Star, Center Karl-Anthony Towns, to lead the team to a better position at the end of the season if it resumes. He is has been the go-to player whenever the team has needed someone to step up. He has averaged 26.5 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game and 4.4 assists this season.